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Premium Ship PREVIEW: HMS Hood

Premium Ship Review Preview Battlecruiser Royal Navy Battleship Hood

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LittleWhiteMouse #1 Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:49 PM

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The following is a PREVIEW of the upcoming release of Hood, a ship Wargaming very kindly provided me. This is the second version of the ship seen during testing and her stats are current as of May 15th, 2017. However, the statistics and performance discussed here are still being evaluated by Wargaming's developers and do not necessarily represent how the ship will appear when released.
 

Error 404:  Detonation joke not found.
 
Quick Summary:  A large, very fast, if under armed battleship with curious AA mechanics.
Cost:  Undisclosed at this time.
Patch and Date Written:  0.6.4 to 0.6.4.1. April 22nd, 2017 to May 15th, 2017.
 
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Kongo, tier 5 Japanese Battleship
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique

Are you as surprises as I am that Warspite isn't listed here?  Hood reminds me very much of some of the early days of playing Kongo, when she was one of only two tier 5 battleships.  Hood, like Kongo, has speed but not the firepower.  She has good protection when angled but she falls apart when she's caught out of position.   When top tier, she's a great ship.  When she's not, she feels lackluster -- more so than some other battleships.
 
PROs
  • Excellent fire angles on her main battery.
  • Guns are very accurate at all ranges with tight horizontal and vertical dispersion and 1.8 sigma.
  • Improved fuse timers and better auto-ricochet angles makes her well suited to damaging even evasive cruisers.
  • Very fast with a top speed of 32.0 knots.
  • Good rudder shift time of 13.4s.
  • Deceptively agile for her size with a turning rate of over 4º per second.
  • She's the first Battleship with a (albeit limited) Defensive Fire consumable.
  • Possesses an improved version of the Repair Party consumable, queuing up to 60% of penetration damage received.

CONs
  • Hood is a very large target with an enormous citadel.
  • Small main armament of eight 381mm rifles leading to poor penetration, alpha strike and DPM.
  • Small and poorly positioned secondary gun battery with limited arcs of fire.
  • Defensive Fire consumable only affects her Anti-Aircraft Rockets.
  • Rocket AA mounts are incredibly fragile and small in number with only 200hp each and are easily knocked out by single HE hits.
  • No Royal Navy Battleships to train Captains for (yet).

 

Where did the last month go?  Hood has had a long development cycle -- at least it's felt very long because of all of that testing I was doing.   I haven't spent this much time, energy and focus on a single review since Saipan.  The ship had two major iterations during the testing period and rather than release one for each, I've held off on publishing while I waited for the ship to finalize.  Instead, I spent time trying to learn everything I could about the ship, including testing her shell dispersion patterns, acceleration rates and even the vulnerability of her citadel and magazines. 

 

 Despite holding off as long as I have, Hood still isn't finalized.  Changes may still be coming, but on the eve of her release, I am pulling the trigger to give you all a glimpse of the ship that was.  I present the Mighty Hood.
 

Options
HMS Hood is the first Battleship to have access to the Defensive Fire consumable.  This version of Defensive Fire is special, affecting only her short-ranged Anti-Aircraft Rocket mounts to a pronounced degree, lasts 60s and comes with three charges standard.  In addition, Hood has a special Repair Party consumable.  It may heal up to 60% of all penetration damage done by all sources instead of just 50%, similar to that of HMS Warspite.  It still only recovers a maximum of 14% of Hood's HP over 28 seconds like normal battleships, unlike Warspite which recovers 16.8% per charge.

 

Consumables:
  • Damage Control Party
  • Repair Party
  • Defensive Fire

 

Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard British Battleship options
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.  During the Hunt the Bismarck campaign, two additional camouflage patterns will become available through completing Mission #6.  The exact bonuses they provide were not disclosed by the time this was published.
 
For upgrades, Hood should equip the following modules:
  • In her first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1.  You're going to take a lot of hits in Hood and because of the aggressive angles you'll be taking, many of them will strike your forward turrets and barbettes.  This will help keep your guns in action against such punishment.  If you're planning on specializing her anti-aircraft armament, you should consider Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 to increase the survivability of your rocket-mounts.
  • In the second slot, you have two interesting choices.  Optimally, taking Aiming Systems Modification 1 is best.  This will tighten her shell groupings, especially at range, while simultaneously providing a slight increase to the range of her secondary gun batteries.  Alternatively, you can seek to maximize her AA power by taking AA Guns Modification 2.   This latter choice will not make her a threat to enemy aircraft carriers but it will provide some functionality with her Defensive Fire consumable but only if paired with Advanced Fire Training, so keep this in mind.
  • In your third slot, Damage Control System Modification 1 is your best choice.  This will increase her torpedo damage reduction from 16% to 18%
  • And in your last slot, you have a choice of either Steering Gears Modification 2 or Damage Control System Modification 2.  Take the latter if you're afraid of fire, though she's not any more flammable than other tier 7 Battleships.

 

Firepower
Primary Battery: Eight 381mm rifles in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Fourteen 102mm rifles in 7x2 turrets with three down each side behind the funnels and the last mounted rearward on the center line.
 
Let's start with the bad news:  Hood doesn't have very good weapon systems.  Her main battery lacks penetration and her secondaries are horribly placed.   These elements really hold the ship back from being truly excellent.
 
Hood has fewer secondary guns than Colorado and they're largely placed towards the rear half of the ship..This creates large blind spots forward preventing them from being brought to bear when on the attack until a target is 35º off her bow. More often than not you will only have one or two turrets firing at most. While they may pick up the occasional low-health kill, it would be a serious mistake to rely upon these weapons or the specialize into improving their performance.
 
 
Hood's 381mm/42 MkII guns superficially resemble those off Warspite. In fact, looking at their stats in port, you would have a hard time finding much in the way of difference between the two ship's guns beyond range and rate of rotation. It's within her hidden stats, namely shell normalization, AP fuse timers and penetration that Hood steps further away from Warspite. Hood's penetration values are bad.  To compensate for this, Wargaming made Hood better at avoiding ricochets and damaging lightly armoured targets.  The exact changes are as follows:
 
Hood shells auto-ricochet at 67.5º instead of 60º like Warspite.
With the notable exception of Hood, all Battleship shells that do not overmatch the thickness of armour will auto-ricochet if they strike a shell angled less than 30º to the horizontal regardless of the relative penetration power of a given shell.  This value is common in most warships in the game with a few notable exceptions -- the most common being the high tier American Heavy Cruisers.  Hood's shells will not auto-ricochet unless they strike at an acute angle of less than 22.5º to the horizontal.  
 
This is designed to make Hood more likely to penetrate vessels taking an aggressive bow-on attack posture and to ensure she has fewer shells that careen off of funny angles of turret faces and the like.  Note, that this does not provide any bonus value to penetration or normalization.  An armour plate at the acute angle of 31º to the horizontal effectively doubles its relative thickness so while a shell might not ricochet from the angle of impact, it may still shatter against the relative thickness of the plate it encounters from a lack of penetration power.
 
Hood has faster fuse-timers at 0.015s instead of Warspite's 0.033s.
 An AP shell's fuse arms by passing through a sufficiently thick piece of steel plate or striking a structural divide between ships sections.  After a small delay, the shell detonates.  For most ships with 330mm guns and larger, this fuse delay is set at 0.033s while those of a smaller caliber have 0.01s delay.  The shortened delay timer  makes it more likely that her shells will explode inside a target -- particularly narrower sections of a ship, such as the extremities battleships or the broadside of light cruisers at close range. 
 
However, the fuses still only arm when they strike thick enough metal so this doesn't guarantee that they will penetrate soft skinned ships like destroyers and French cruisers.  Hood's fuses need to strike a plate 64mm thick (or a structural divide) in order to arm.  Striking at the maximum angle, Hood would need to hit a minimum 25mm steel plate in order to arm in this manner, so it's still very possible to see over penetrations from a broad range of targets.

Hood's accuracy is slightly worse than Warspite's with 1.8 sigma instead of 2.0 sigma.
 While Hood's shell grouping aren't as tight as those of Warspite, she's still a Royal Navy Battleship which brings an accuracy perk. These vessels have some of the tightest horizontal and vertical dispersion in among the current dreadnoughts. Due to the lower shell velocity of her 381mm guns, the overall dispersion area per shot is comparably less than that to any other nation.  This does mean that you can drop some rather accurate shells on unsuspecting targets. Aim well and pick your targets right and Hood can still perform.
 
 
Without a target lock, the shell dispersion patterns seen here are roughly double what would be seen when firing at enemy ships.  There is approximately 350m between nav buoys. Shells are traveling from right to left.
 
Hood has approximately 7% worse penetration than Warspite at all ranges.
It's the drop in penetration power that's telling and largely dictates why her guns have sub-standard performance. She has less penetration power at 10km than Gneisenau has at 15km. Due to her lower shell velocity, her volleys come in at a higher angle than other battleships which further increases the relative thickness of plate against which it strikes. Thus even armour you might assume Hood possesses enough raw penetration to best can end up shattering her shells. At ranges greater than 12km, you can't expect Hood to reliably penetrate the belt armour of any enemy battleship you come across.  Instead, aim a little higher and try and hammer the upper hull or superstructure.
 
Looking back at port values, two statistics should stand out: range and gun rotation. On paper, Hood has the second lowest range of any of the tier 7 Battleships, though it pays to keep in mind that Colorado can boost her reach from 17.1km up to 19.9km with her Artillery Plotting Room 1 upgrade. Unfortunately for Hood, she doesn't have access to the same. Hood's 18.6km reach will often feel insufficient, especially when she gets up-tiered. Unlike Warspite, she doesn't have access to a Spotter Aircraft to temporarily boost her range, functionally giving her less maximum range than her tier 6 cousin.
 
All of Hood's main battery drawbacks could be done away with if she was a good brawler.  Her penetration woes would fall away.  Range wouldn't be an issue.  This would really exemplify the strengths of her improved auto-ricochet angles and the decreased shell fuse timer.   In truth, she does have some qualities that would make her a good medium to short range brawler, such as her agility and protection scheme (see below for more on that).  On top of this, her gun angles are excellent.  Her #4 turret can engage enemies 30º off her bow and her #3 can do so with enemies at 31º.  If only she had decent secondaries or working torpedo launchers to back them up.
 
So while Hood has arguably the worst guns (both primary and secondary) at her tier, they're not without their merits.  While their performance will not do players any favours, proper target selection and aim can go a long way towards mitigating their drawbacks.
 

What about her gun Rotation?

At the time of writing this, HMS Hood had a 3º per second main battery rotation speed -- 60s for 180º turn which is pretty terrible.  Unconfirmed rumours had mentioned that Hood's turret rotation would be buffed up to 5º per second before release.  I don't like to write my reviews based on rumours, especially not ones Wargaming themselves cannot confirm or deny.  As it stands, with her original traverse rate, this is another drawback to her weapons, albeit a minor one.  Her excellent firing arcs makes it very easy to mitigate this issue by locking the rear turrets in an 'over the shoulder' position and just apply small touches of rudder to unmask them before slipping back into a more aggressive, not-quite bow on stance to emphasize the strengths of her armour once more.

Should Hood receive this turret rotation buff, this would give her some of the fastest turning turrets among Battleships in the game -- just behind the quick turning rates of Friedrich der Große and on par with the likes of Bismarck and Dunkerque.  This will again bring up the question of brawling with Hood and ... while possible, it's still a very dangerous game to play, especially without good backup weaponry in the form of torpedoes or awesome secondaries.  Still, it might be the play to make in select circumstances, but I wouldn't rely on it.

 
 Summary:
  • The gimmicks of shortened fuses and improved auto-ricochet angles are nice and all, but they don't prop up what are ultimately the weakest guns at their tier.  Hood is under-armed with low DPM, low penetration and low range.
  • Her secondary's suck moose balls.
  • Her accuracy is good, though, being as good as (or better) than some of the 2.0 sigma warships at her tier grace of the tighter British dispersion.
 
Manoeuvrability
Top Speed: 32.0 knots
Turning Radius: 910m
Rudder Shift: 13.4s
Turn Rate:  4.08º per second
 
HMS Hood's agility is a story of contrasts.  She's very fast, but she takes a long time to get up to speed.  She has an enormous turning circle, yet she can change her heading very quickly for a ship of her size.
 
It's all too easy to dismiss Hood's handling as "bad" -- especially with her turning circle of 910m. This is the worst at her tier, and by a significant margin.  While it's true that requires a lot of room to turn around, the rate at which she does turn is surprisingly fast for her size.  Hood manages just shy of 4.1º per second in a turn grace of her high speed.  This is well ahead of Nagato (3.7º per second) however it falls short of all of the other tier 7 battleships.  This still puts her ahead of ships with smaller turning circles, like North Carolina and Arizona.  So while Hood's ability to turn isn't "good", it's not terrible either.  She'll surprise many opponents with how quickly she changes her heading or how aptly she can wiggle and dodge.  Her rudder shift time can be dropped down to a mere 10.7s which only adds to her responsiveness.  The only downside to this agility is that during play testing, she was out turning her turrets and by quite a bit.
 
 If Hood has a real shortfall it's in her acceleration.  Compared to her closest contemporary, Gneisenau, she's slower in the turn (23.9 knots versus 24.1 knots) and she takes longer to accelerate to full speed from a dead stop (73s versus 65s).  The difference between the two in manoeuvres is more telling -- Gneisenau recovers from deceleration faster, reaching her full speed again within 30s while Hood needs 35s.
 
This can limit Hood's ability to dictate engagement ranges unless she sails in a straight line.  Indeed, the strength of her high top speed -- as fast as or faster than any other Battleship she'll encounter short of the Iowa-class -- is predicated by sailing on a straight line course.  Pray there are no torpedo armed destroyers able to draw a bead on her.  If there's room to pull this off, she can effectively kite opponents that attempt to give chase.  Even destroyers (particularly the slower IJN Destroyers) will struggle to keep pace with Hood when she has a mind of opening up the distance.  This has the added benefit of pointing her badly positioned secondaries at whatever is pursuing her. 
 
On the attack, Hood can dominate slower Battleships and unwary cruisers, using her speed and handling to bow in, angle against incoming fire and close into her own optimal firing range while.  Cruisers cannot comfortably outpace her without sailing in a straight line and Hood will punish them for moving predictably.  In the latter stages of a match, Hood can really make all of the difference, with her high speed allowing her to power from one flank to the other and address the needs of her team mates.  This even makes up for some of the disparity of her range.  High speed should never be discounted -- it's an incredibly powerful asset.
 
Finally, Hood's manoeuvrability combines with her excellent firing arcs of her guns and her fast rudder shift.  It's quite easy to keep the ship heavily angled, touch the rudder to unmask turrets 3 and 4, fire and then touch the rudder back to return to a defensive stance.  When she elects to take a brawling stance, her speed and handling doesn't let her down.
 

Om nom nom, Atlanta. Hood has the speed to chase down many cruisers, especially if they don't turn tail and run flat out. 
 
Durability
Hit Points: 67,700
Maximum Protection:  25mm + 305mm + 40mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16%
 
Hood's reputation for fragility precedes her, so it may be a bit of a tough sell for me to declare that she's rather well protected.  There's some obvious points to get out of the way -- she's not German so her citadel can be penetrated.  She's also tier 7 and not tier 8, so this hamstrings her with her tier mate's 25mm bow and stern armour which can be overmatched by 380mm guns or larger.  But overall, she's not an especially fragile battleship.
 
Hood's citadel protection over her machine spaces is comparable to Nagato's, but she rides much lower in the water.   This fully immerses her citadel beneath the waterline, which is an immediate plus.  The downside is that this also immerses most of her belt armour, leaving only a bacon-thin stripe over the water's surface.  Without angling, the large slab sides of the ship are vulnerable to letting in AP penetrations from even cruiser-caliber guns, so be careful about giving up her flanks.  Her armour scheme works best at medium to close ranges where she can turn in against incoming firepower.  Like all ships with turtlebacks, Hood has to be especially wary of long range fire.  Most of the citadel damage I've taken has come from long range shell strikes from distances greater than 15km.  Giving up your flush broadside is also asking to have your machine spaces blown out.
 
Her vulnerabilities lie primarily with her turrets and barbettes which aren't as well protected as her contemporaries, leaving them vulnerable to direct fire.  It's quite common for these guns to get temporarily disabled, so Main Armaments Modification 1 is a sound investment.  Preventative Maintenance on your ship's Commander wouldn't be remiss either.
 
It's against high explosive fire that Hood is surprisingly adept.  She shares the usual vulnerabilities of her superstructure to all gun calibers and her bows and stern can be easily damaged by 152mm guns or larger.  However, like the German Battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, amidships, her deck is too thick for even heavy cruiser HE shells to damage.  Similarly, above her armoured belt, her plate never gets thin enough for high explosive to damage either, being immune to everything up to and including Battleship caliber HE shells.
 
 Hood is highly vulnerable to torpedoes, however.  Her long keel presents an ideal target for broadside spreads.  Her propensity to want to sail in straight lines to maximize speed can set her up for disaster, so keeping a wary eye on the minimap is necessary to avoid unwelcome surprises. 
 
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 16.2km
Air Detection Range: 13.9 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.5km
Main Battery Range: 18.6km
 
Hood is a large ship and she understandably has a rather large surface detection range.   It's perhaps a surprise that it's not the worst at her tier.  She sits comfortably in the middle -- outdone by 500m when compared to the commerce raiders Scharnhorst and Gneisenau but ahead of Colorado by the same margin and with nearly a full kilometer's advantage over Nagato.  This happy middle ground evaporates when her aerial detection is concerned -- she has the largest surface detection by a large margin.
 
You're not sneaking up on anything in Hood.  Even if you specialize in concealment, you're still going to be sniffed out from the air at a range of 11.9km and from the surface at 13.5km.  This can put a real hurt on her efforts to take up flanking positions, as she's more visible than most of the American and German Battleships (especially when they're higher tier and rigged for concealment) and she stands little chance of catching a cruiser off guard.
 
What really hurts Hood's concealment is that without allies, she has to do her own spotting.  She has no access to Hydro, Radar or some kind of catapult aircraft to give her early warning about another ship's approach through concealment or obstacles.  So not only is a she a big ship, she's also a blind big ship.  Destroyers can approach her confident that she won't spot them early and that her secondaries are ill placed to fend them off.  This allows Hood to be out played by another ship that can control vision.  Were it not for Hood's speed, she might be surrendering all initiative to the enemy because of this deficit.
 

I ran lots (and lots, and lots) of tests of Hood's anti-aircraft ability, both against bots and against volunteers like Lert.  The more heavily specialized she became, the more more brutal her AA power became under the Defensive Fire consumable.  It's almost meme-worthy, but don't swallow the hype wholesale.
 
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 178mm / 102mm / 40mm / 12.7mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 1.5km / 5.0km / 2.5km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura:  50 / 56 / 69 / 8
 Much ado will be made about HMS Hood's anti-aircraft defenses.  Let's get this out of the way before we go any further:  Hood is selfish.  Whatever you feel about the final values of Hood's AA power, she isn't designed around fleet-defense.  Her dual purpose, 102mm guns may have the reach but can only do so much to help to a beleaguered ally, even when fully upgraded.  Instead, Hood's flak is meant to selfishly protect herself from enemy air attack. 
 
The only redeemable quality of Hood's anti-aircraft defenses comes solely from her two unique features -- her anti aircraft rockets and her Defensive Fire consumable.  On the surface, her rockets are pretty lackluster too.  She has five mounts, each adding 10dps to the collective whole which isn't spectacular.  Worse, they have only a 1.5km range.  Stock, they are utterly incapable of engaging enemy torpedo planes before they make their drop.  At best, they can engage enemy dive bombers on their final attack run.  Worse, her Defensive Fire consumable only affects these rocket mounts, meaning that the disruption effect provided by this consumable only touches planes that have slipped within this 1.5km window.  Clearly, we're not off to a great start.  Thankfully, it gets better.
 
While Defensive Fire is limited to her rocket mounts it does have two buffs over the standard consumable.  Instead of buffing her DPS by a factor of three for forty seconds, Hood's Defensive Fire lasts sixty seconds. 
 
And, the DPS of her rockets is buffed twenty-five times.
 
 Yes, you read that right:  Twenty-five times.  Without any other bonuses, Hood's rockets generate an average of 1,250 DPS for sixty seconds.  To put this in perspective, Minotaur, the tier 10 British cruiser that's renowned for her anti-aircraft firepower, generates a total of 494 DPS stock.  Anything that wanders into the rocket's aura is going to take heavy casualties, but this won't be enough to do more than maul most air groups.  Most carriers will be able to stomach such losses if it means being able to drop ordnance.  So while Hood might cause a few casualties, stock she's not going to scare anyone off.
 
This changes if you choose to upgrade heavily into anti-aircraft defense.  Taking the AA Guns Modification 2 upgrade in combination with Advanced Fire Training on your commander will nudge up your rocket's range to 2.2km.  This range may not feel like much but it's significant.  First, it gives your rockets more time to engage dive bombers.  Second, this range will also catch torpedo planes -- sometimes before they drop but almost always after they drop. So while this will again make attacking Hood expensive, range boosts alone will not discourage carriers from engaging her.  Boosting her DPS will.
 
With the Captain Skills Basic Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns, Hood's rocket DPS spikes up over 3,000dps.  This is the equivalent of two Montana-class Battleships specialized for anti-aircraft firepower firing in tandem at the same target.  In short, nothing survives inside of 2.2km.  Attack plane squadrons melt like they hit a wall.  Carrier players have no reaction time to recover aircraft that slip inside this barrier and the only answer is to either wait out the consumable or launch torpedoes at very long range.
 
Torpedo planes will always be Hood's bane, though.  While it is possible to annihilate a poorly managed torpedo bomber wave before they drop, usually they will get at least a few fish into the water.   Hood's large size and huge turning circle does make dodging fish challenging (though not impossible with her good turning speed), so it's likely she will take at least some damage from a concerted attack.  However, her AA defense does have an Achilles Heel.
 
The weakness in her AA defense is the survivability of her rocket mounts.  Though they count as a large-caliber weapon, they do not have the protection of large caliber guns.  Hood's rocket AA mounts have the same hit point totals as small and medium caliber AA Guns -- a mere 200hp as opposed to t he 800hp of dual-purpose mounts.  Using Auxillary Armaments Modification 1 will double this to 400hp, but this will only keep her safe from 130mm HE rounds -- nothing bigger. This makes them exceedingly vulnerable to cruiser fire and it''s very unlikely that her defenses will be intact once she's taken even a modest amount of high explosive damage.  Each mount lost cuts her heavy-hitting AA power by one fifth so it doesn't take much to neutralize her anti-aircraft aura to a pittance.  This makes a heavy investment into AA firepower seem foolish as it can be largely dismantled even from light damage from surface vessels.
 
 When an enemy carrier faces a Hood, the question will always be:  "Is it worth engaging her?"  The truest test will always be to see at what range Hood's batteries engage those aircraft.  If her guns remain silent at 7km or even 6km, then she's probably a safe target for torpedo planes.  Dive Bombers should stay away until Hood is on half health or less.  Braving attack runs on a specialized and weary Hood will only empty out your hangar for very little gains.
 
 Personally, I found using a fully specialized AA Captain hilarious.  The comments from carrier players when everything died before dropping their warheads was always so satisfying.  Proper management of her anti-aircraft guns was key, including disabling her AA guns to lure planes in and shutting them off again after an attack run to accelerate the reset timer on her Defensive Fire.   However, let's be clear:  It's a heavy investment for what amounts to little gains in the majority of your battles.  It hinges on:

a.)  Matchmaker placing you in a game with enemy carriers...
b.)  ...that are intent on trying to attack you with their planes...
c.)  ...before enemy surface ships destroy your AA rocket mounts.
 
If this seems incredibly specific and unlikely, you're not mistaken. The skill points and modules are likely be better spent elsewhere.  But there's no denying the joy of annihilating enemy aircraft.
 

How to be Mighty
There are two main Commander builds to consider for Hood.

 

  1. Anti-Aircraft Build, to maximize the defensive potential of Hood's hilarious AA mechanics.
  2. A conservative, defensive build to stress concealment and fire damage mitigation.

 

The core skills you'll want for both Hood builds starts with Priority Target (1pt) followed by Adrenaline Rush (2pts) to help prop up her awful DPM totals.  From here, the paths of the two builds diverge greatly.
 
The anti-aircraft build requires the use of Basic Fire Training (3pts) and a rush to get Advanced Fire Training (4pts) as soon as possible.  This last skill should be combined with the AA Guns Modification 2 upgrade to push the range of her rockets out to 2.2km.  The next skill to grab is Manual Fire Control for AA Guns (4pts).  It's highly recommend you take Superintendent (3pts) as a follow up to add another charge to your Defensive Fire consumable.  This will give you a maximum of 5 charges.  This will leave you with 2pts remaining to be placed where you prefer.  Expert Marksman (2pts) or High Alert (2pts) are the best choices.
 
 The defensive build for Hood should look familiar to veterans of battleships and stresses reducing the reset timers of consumables while mitigating the risks of fire.  After taking the first two skills listed above, grab Basics of Survivability (3pts), then Concealment Expert (4pts) to get your surface detection range down.  Next, you have a choice.  I would put points into Superintendent (3pts) for the extra charge of her Repair Party, High Alert (2pts) and Vigilance (3pts) with the final point going towards Preventative Maintenance (1pt).  Alternatively, drop the last two skills for Fire Prevention (4pts) instead for those that really hate fires.
 
It's possible to mix and match skills from both builds to create a hybrid.  Advanced Fire Training is the key skill to make the anti-aircraft build work, provided it's combined with AA Guns Modification 2.  You may not kill every plane this way, but at least you can make it expensive for CVs to engage you.
 

"Hood has Defensive Fire?  That would have been nice to know," said a Taiho Captain after this attack run.  Hood's AA couldn't prevent the drop of all three stacked torpedo squadrons, but it could shoot most of them down, making attacks like this prohibitively expensive.
 
Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 
Hood is a battleship -- and a battleship with good durability and accurate guns which makes her rather forgiving on the surface. However, she's not idiot proof like the low tier German Battleships, nor will she do you any favours where dealing damage is concerned.  One of the main complaints about her will forever be her guns which simply don't hit hard enough without compensations to the volume of fire.
 
In the hands of an expert player, Hood will tick all of the same boxes that Dunkerque and Iowa do.  She's a fast, flanking Battleship that can really cause a lot of headaches to the enemy. Hood is one of the best ships out there for denying a flank to enemy cruisers and dreadnoughts by being annoying and hard to kill.  Her speed lets her control the engagement and delay even a hard push by tanking far more damage than anyone expects her capable.  Her carrying potential is limited by her small main battery and awful secondaries.


Mouse's Summary:

  • Held back by her weapons.  Hood really makes you work for every scrap of damage done.
  • Her anti-aircraft armament is a fun gimmick.  Not very practical, but a lot of fun.
  • Hood is a lot tougher than her historical reputation would suggest.
  • Never underestimate the value of her speed.

 

I was (not-so secretly) hoping Hood was going to be a 30-knot, faster-firing version of HMS Warspite:  Fast.  Agile.  Good DPM for her tier.  Tough as nails if played right but uncompromising if mishandled and absolutely brutal in a close range fight if push comes to shove.  That's not what Hood ended up being and admittedly, it took me a little while to get over my disappointment of not being able to replace my favourite ship with something better.  It's almost like Wargaming didn't want to give a Royal Navy fangirl a(nother) super-overpowered British boat.  Harumph.
 
Now, those unrealistic expectations aside, I had a lot of fun play testing Hood.  I put this ship through her paces.  I mapped her shell fall patterns.  I drag raced her against the other tier 7 Battleships to check her acceleration and put her through my usual tests to find her rotation speed.  I even went head to head with iChase's Nagato in a trio of one-versus-one duels in the original build of Hood.  We really hammered out the strengths and weaknesses of the ship in those engagements.
 
It made a few lessons abundantly clear:  Her speed is amazing.  She's painfully blind with no aircraft or spotting consumable.  Her guns may not hit hard, but they hit reliably and the damage she can do is not insignificant if you aim well.  Brawling is largely a mistake unless it's to finish off a low health and vulnerable foe, then it can be amazingly decisive.  She's also a lot tougher than she looks (though she'll still get her citadel blown out), and her anti-aircraft armament is hilarious.
 
I want to be able to say clearly how I think Hood is going to perform in the community at large.  I think people will really love her durability and handling.  I do think that her gun performance is going to hold her back from topping those vaunted damage charts everyone hovers over as the yardstick for a successful boat... however, her survivability and speed might let her snatch up a few extra scraps of damage that might be otherwise denied to a Nagato or Colorado.  I don't think anyone will be disappointed to see HMS Hood on their team -- in fact, they may prefer her there over the presence of a Colorado. I don't think she will displace the Scharnhorst-sisters as some of the best ships at their tier.
 
Finally, Hood isn't overpowered.  I do think she'll polarize players though.  You'll love her quirks or you'll get turned off right away by her guns.
So while I didn't get a better, faster Warspite, I did get to play something different and ultimately enjoyable.  
 
Would I Recommend?
It's always fun phrasing recommendations for famous ships.  It's understandable that a lot of people will have already made up their minds well in advance -- HMS Hood is just one of those iconic vessels that demands attention.
 
  •  PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

As a Battleship, Hood is well suited to bullying bots and is a good choice for PVE Battles.  She has an enormous hit point pool which keeps her low on the bot's priority list and her AA power and agility is more than sufficient to avoid hits from CV auto-drops.  Her repair costs sit at 26,775 credits with 90 credits spent per shell fired.  However, she won't make bank.  A typical 400 base experience game will net about 50,000 credits after expenses without a premium account.

 

  •  Random Battle Grinding
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

While I do feel that Warspite is the better Battleship trainer between the two, Hood isn't a bad ship.  If you need only one Royal Navy Battleship trainer, I would recommend the former -- she'll be more cost effective.  However, taken on her own merits, Hood is a good ship for grinding in Random Battles.

 

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

It's hard to recommend Hood for competitive gaming.  While she would enjoy relative immunity from enemy CV predations, she's just too blind and too under armed to be as strong a contender as Nagato, Scharnhorst or Gneisenau.

 

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Do I seriously need to fill this section out?

 

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Yep.  I enjoyed my time with her.  Although, I admit that the "look out for Bismarck" jokes got pretty old after a while.

 

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?

GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.
Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.
Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.
OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.

 

 
I still want one.

Edited by LittleWhiteMouse, 15 May 2017 - 08:52 PM.

Q♥  Most Recent Review: HMS Hood
  


1Sherman #2 Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:57 PM

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Nice review. I'll be saving my premium ship money for when HMCS Haida comes out.

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MrDeaf #3 Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:57 PM

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I can't help but notice how bad Nagato's accuracy is...

 

Also, lolorado seems to be missing?


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RustyFMJ #4 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:02 PM

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If the basic Hood+port slot will be available from the start i'll get it right away.

I'll make it work in PvP, i've got no doubts about that



JToney3449 #5 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:04 PM

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Great review mouse +1 for you!

Sadly with her guns performace being garbage, she has no way of doing reliable dmg.  Like you said leaves you struggling for dmg.  As a BB you already have to do a lot more dmg to do your equal hitpoints, so no reliable guns/torps/secondaries? Pass.  Being able to kill all the cv's planes who torp and bomb you to death is hardly consolation for getting nuked under the water by the CV.

 

So while mouse gets my ups WG gets the downvotes for making the hood a stupid AA gimick that isnt even able to save itself with it.

 

PS In before Lert! HAHAHA.


Edited by JToney3449, 15 May 2017 - 09:21 PM.


Sventex #6 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:06 PM

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I'm mildly disappointed that the Hood isn't being given away in the campaign.  I already have the Bismarck, fully grinded.  I had gotten myself exciting to rush through the upcoming campaign to unlock the Hood.

Edited by Sventex, 15 May 2017 - 09:07 PM.

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JervisBay #7 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:17 PM

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I was curious about this defensive system so wandered to the HMS Hood Association ..........

 

7" Naval Wire Barrage, Unrotating Projectile (UP) Rocket Launcher

Type: Mark I
Number of Tubes: 20 (smooth bore)
Rocket: 7 in./178 mm x 32 in./813 mm fin stabilised rocket (3 in. / 76 mm motor)
Warhead: 8 oz / .14 kg aerial mine (CE)
Fuse: No. 700 and No. 720
Rate of Fire: Salvoes of 10
Maximum Altitude: @ 1,000 ft / 305 m
Elevation Angle (Max. / Min.): ? ° / @ 45°
Training: 360°
Comments: Hood was outfitted with 5 UP mounts which were added in 1940. One was atop "B" turret, and the remaining four on the Shelter Deck. In general, the UP (AKA "rocket-on-a-string") was a largely unsuccessful attempt at a low altitude anti-aircraft defence system. The basic concept was to create an aerial minefield: When hostile aircraft were detected, the UP "layer" (operator) would manually launch a salvo/spread of 10 rockets.

Upon reaching @1000ft, the rockets would detonate and expel mines attached to three parachutes by @400ft of cable. Aircraft flying through the aerial minefield would snag the cables and pull the mines into themselves. In reality, the system was slow & cumbersome.  The aerial minefields were clearly visible & easily avoidable.  This, coupled with other factors such as the volatile nature of the cordite/rockets & the risk of mines floating back onto the launching ship, doomed this weapon to mothballs. There are no records of UPs bringing down any aircraft. It's entirely possible that this system injured or killed more Britons than enemies due to accidents, fires, etc.


oo-OOOO-oo+oo-OOOO-oo

RivertheRoyal #8 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:18 PM

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Thanks for the write-up! Can't wait for her to come out. :)

goldeagle1123 #9 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:26 PM

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For a ship they really seem to be pushing, they're certainly making it very unappealing.

 

 

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Yoshiblue #10 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:26 PM

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RIP Lert Box

Adm_Nate_Ellis937 #11 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:27 PM

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I think i'll buy Hood. But will also be looking forward to when HMCS Haida comes along. :). Nice preview Mouse.

thehelmsman #12 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:27 PM

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Green arrow before I even read. You just know it's going to be good enough to warrant just as soon as it gets posted. Thanks again, Mouse!

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LadyJess #13 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:35 PM

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As always LWM an excellent write up.

Will be waiting for this one to make a debut in the shop.



SgtSullyC3 #14 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:39 PM

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Nice review Mousey! 

However, I'm not going to be dishing out $40 for Hood. I'd like one (she's the freakin' Hood, and she's a beautiful ship!), but when there are other things I'm saving for like Kaga and Enterprise, I'm gonna have to pass on her.


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landcollector #15 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:46 PM

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View PostLittleWhiteMouse, on 15 May 2017 - 08:49 PM, said:

On paper, Hood has the second lowest range of any of the tier 7 Battleships, though it pays to keep in mind that Colorado can boost her reach from 17.1km up to 19.9km with her Artillery Plotting Room 1 upgrade.

 

​Minor note:  17.1 km is the range for a stock Colorado.  Once her FCS upgrade is researched, that goes up to 18.8 km.  Which can make Hood the shortest-ranged T7 BB, though admittedly by just 200m.

AquaSquirrel #16 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:47 PM

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I can't wait for this thing. 

 

I want to use this in an RN div with Fiji and Belfast. Colonization is coming and this you can't escape!  


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Admiral_Thrawn_1 #17 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:56 PM

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So I take it that it's bad idea to use Hood in Ranked Battles??? :trollface:

paradat #18 Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:56 PM

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So good. Did you get much play time in after the last change?


 


Phoenix_jz #19 Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:07 PM

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Another excellent review!

 

 

She's certainly an odd one to tier... I can see how WG might've struggled with this one.

 


 

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saru_richard #20 Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:26 PM

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holy crapdid wargaming just made an actual balance premium ship? where am i and how did i get here?

still waiting for WG to give USN STS armor....






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